The conference on Libya: the contract without a signature

Haftar who leads a self-styled Libyan National Army has repeatedly threatened to attack Tripoli

Haftar who leads a self-styled Libyan National Army has repeatedly threatened to attack Tripoli

His self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) said on Tuesday that he had travelled to the conference only to "hold a series of meetings with presidents of regional countries to discuss the latest national and global developments".

Libya's two main rival leaders met for the first time in more than five months in Sicily on Tuesday and its prime minister endorsed a United Nations plan for an election next year. The meetings discussed bilateral relations and ways of enhancing them, as well as the latest regional developments, especially in Libya.

The Libyan army has denied news that Commander Khalifa Haftar intends to attend the Palermo conference on Libya, which kicked off in the Italian city on Monday. However, the Kremlin said that the Russian president would not be able to attend the conference. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, among the participants, had recently reiterated Cairo's call for lifting the global arms embargo against Libya.

An Italian diplomatic official, briefing reporters in Palermo, said the atmosphere of the mini-meeting was cordial and collaborative and that Haftar told Sarraj to stay in charge until the elections.

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Seven years after the toppling of Gadafi, Libya remains divided with two rival parliaments - the internationally recognized Government of National Accord in the capital, Tripoli, and the eastern-based House of Representatives (HOR).

Eventually, the West hopes Libyans will have a democratic election, but the conference isn't aiming to fix a date.

Conte met on Monday with Ghassan Salame, the U.N. special envoy to Libya, who last week told the U.N. Security Council that the "status quo in Libya was untenable" with the country.

He noted that Turkey is disappointed with the course of the conference on Libya and stops participating in it.

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"Haftar already succeeding in making the Palermo Conference about the importance of his role in any potential agreement in Libya going forward and reinforcing his position as the key actor in the Libyan crisis", said Mohamed ElJarh, CEO of research and consulting firm Libya Outlook.

The conference was hosted by Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

Libya has been ravaged by civil war since the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 against the backdrop of the Arab Spring.

The Haftar camp regularly accuses Turkey and Qatar of militarily and financially backing his rivals, including militants.

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